By Alisha Dixon
In 2016, DAPCEP announced the appointment of Michelle Reaves as the organization’s executive director. Before her appointment, Reaves served as DAPCEP’s deputy director for 5 years and has successfully led many of the organizations programs, courses and initiatives.
“Michelle is the ideal candidate to lead DAPCEP’s efforts to make future programming more focused on students, and creating experiences vital to Michigan’s career and entrepreneurship opportunities,” said Stephen C. Lewis, recently retired Ford Motor Company executive and DAPCEP’s current board president.
“I look forward to being able to expand our programs while continuing to build long-term partnerships with those committed to the development of our youth’s interest in STEM and vital STEM careers. Our team firmly believes that our state’s future successes will be determined by the investments we make in our students and their families,” said Reaves about her appointment as DAPCEP’s new executive director.
Reaves, a graduate of Western Michigan University with a B.A. in business administration and has an MBA from Wayne State University believes that
DAPCEP has been pillar of excellence in the metro-Detroit community. Its commitment, she said, has spanned over 40 years and has exposed thousands of K-12 students to science, technology, engineering and math through partnerships with local colleges and universities and training programs.
“It is a staple in the community. Last year we celebrated our 40th anniversary, so we have been consistently able to provide foundational exposure to the STEM field. It was created due to the underrepresentation of minorities in engineering. What it did was provide the opportunity for students to see people who looked like them in positions that were attainable for them. Even if you didn’t go into a STEM field, DAPCEP provided a group of like-minded people who were trying to better themselves,” Reaves said about the importance of DAPCEP and programs like it.
“It is truly an honor to take on this role, and work with the innovative staff, who are so committed to delivering the highest level of STEM programs to Detroit’s next generation of engineers, scientists, doctors, lawyers and explorers.”
Under the leadership of Reaves, DAPCEP has created new programs and expanded already existing programs to further meet the needs of the ever-changing STEM field. This year, DAPCEP will introduce a new program called Preparing African American Males Energy and Education, a program for African American males in the 10th and 11th grades. The program was created to get African American males interested in science and engineering careers. Throughout this course, young men will learn about petroleum and automotive applications, nuclear power generation, LED technology and lighting and renewable energy systems.
In addition to new course offerings and programs, DAPCEP’s offers its core 6-week Saturday classes in the fall and spring at various locations, including college and university campuses, throughout southeastern Michigan. Students in grades pre-K-3rd take courses in the Explorer Program and students in grades 4th – 12th attend the Pathfinders Saturday classes. DAPCEP also sponsors STEM+M Day at the Michigan Science Center, GEAR-UP student programming and the bi-annual DAPCEP Student Showcase. During the summer, DAPCEP offers commuter or residential camps for students to be exposed to college life at universities throughout Michigan.
Each year, over 4,000 students learn about STEM through DAPCEP’s numerous courses.
DAPCEP’s commitment extends beyond its course offerings as the organization contributes to the success of their students even after the 12th grade. Through partnerships with some of its corporate sponsors like Marathon Oil, Michigan Technological University and DTE Energy, DAPCEP students can earn scholarships.
The impact of DAPCEP’s continued work, Reaves said, can been measured by the success of its thousands of alumni who work in STEM and non-STEM careers for major corporations like DTE Energy, Ford Motor Company and the State of Michigan.
“Relationships are important to DAPCEP. Parent relationships are built by delivering rigorous content; student relationships are built by teaching engaging content. Students gain the background that draws in corporate partners interested in hiring skilled employees. The partners then support the program and the relationship cycle renews again. So it’s exciting, I think this is what has helped us be successful.
For more information about DAPCEP and to enroll your child in the program, please go to dapcep.asapconnected.com.


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